Career Corner: Interview Techniques That Can Cost You The Job

Career Corner: Interview Techniques That Can Cost You The Job

By Paul Anderson of ProLango Consulting

Successfully navigating the interview process in today’s job market is incredibly difficult, and requires a different approach than was used even just five years ago. Read on to find out some of the most common mistakes people make while interviewing, as well as how to avoid making them yourself.

Failing to Build Instant Credibility

Companies hire people they like and trust. Rather than memorizing answers to common interview questions, successful applicants need to focus on answering in ways that build instant credibility with their interviewer.

The most common non-verbal objection every hiring manager has is: “I don’t believe you!” It’s important to recognize and handle this objection quickly, otherwise you run the risk of being asked technical questions about your experience… something that can get very uncomfortable for both you and the interviewer.

One of the best ways of building instant credibility is through asking strategic Expertise Questions. These are questions that revolve explicitly around the field you’re interviewing for, and work to highlight both your interest in that field and your knowledge of it. Establishing credibility with the hiring manager is vital to creating a positive interview environment.

Failing to Build Quick Psychological Rapport with the Interviewer

When we think of the word “rapport,” we tend to think of the widely taught principle of finding shared interests. While this is a true to a point, shared interests are very hard to gauge during an interview and it can come across as disingenuous if you don’t discuss this topic carefully.

Instead a more effective technique is to learn how to develop rapport with the interviewer at the psychological levels. Interviewers tend to fall into one of three dominant communication styles:

Start noticing these subtleties with those around you and practice changing your communication style to match the person you’re talking to. If you can successfully change your style to match the hiring manager’s, you’ll notice a stronger sense of connection and you’ll greatly increase your odds of communicating effectively, being understood and potentially getting the job offer.

Failing to Identify the Hiring Manager’s Needs

You would think that a hiring manager’s needs would be identified clearly in the job description. If you’ve attended one of ProLango’s free Career Search Optimization seminars, you know this is very far from the truth! Job descriptions are often generic in nature, and lack some of the finer details of the position.It’s your responsibility in the interview to properly identify the missing information, as well as the needs of the hiring manager themselves.

If you’ve established enough rapport and done a great job building credibility, it’s an easy next step to ask the hiring manager a series of questions to understand his or her true needs. Once you have those needs, you can then move into discussing how you’ve solved similar problems in the past.

Answering Questions Instead of Telling Stories

One of the biggest mistakes candidates make during an interview is that they answer the interviewer’s questions with facts and details. Or, they talk about the intellectual way they would solve a problem.

Successful presenters, public speakers, salespeople and politicians have mastered the art of storytelling, and as a jobseeker, you should, too. In sales, there is a saying: “Facts tell, stories sell.” From a psychological perspective, this is true because we tend to remember stories longer and better than facts.

Details make the story memorable. Great stories include sufficient details (think about how an engaging novel describes the environment in such a way that you can picture yourself right there in the action). Details create a memorable story and help the interviewer visualize what you’re trying to illustrate.

Poor Closing Techniques

Here are some of the worst interviewing closing techniques of all time. You can do everything right, but you run the risk of being rejected in the interview if you use one of these popular interviewing techniques:

The first four serve to highlight your desperation in getting the job, while the last one shows your insecurities and creates doubt in the hiring manager’s mind.

You might still have a lot of questions about interviewing technique. If you do, I’d encourage you to check out one ProLango’s upcoming Interviewing Mastery workshops (which you can find in the link below). The workshop is designed to develop your interview skills, and prep you for the next interview opportunity you get.

Click the image below for more information!



Paul Anderson is a nationally recognized speaker on career transformation and was the TV Co-Host of the weekly show “How to Get a Job in Seattle,” aired on Comcast. Paul has formally written career columns for The Seattle Times’ NWjobs, ABC’s KOMO 4 News, and CW’s The Daily Buzz. Anderson’s unique and research-based curriculum to career management has put him in demand with the army, national guard, professional associations, universities, NFL, corporations, and government agencies across the country. Paul’s empowering advice and career strategies have appeared in such media outlets as The Wall Street Journal, US News & World Report, Business Week, USA Today, The Seattle Times, and seen on the ABC, FOX, and NBC networks.

City University of Seattle has partnered with Paul and ProLango Consulting Inc. to offer affordable career seminars throughout 2014. Both are leaders in their industry whose focus is on preparing working adults for their next career move. For more information about ProLango and their upcoming events at CityU visit

Published May 8, 2014



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